Phantoms have mixed weekend
The Phantoms had a mixed weekend, playing away on Friday and at home on Saturday.
The big winners were the JV boys, who clinched both of their games, beating Beaver Dam 42-34 and Williams 51-27.
High scorers against Beaver Dam on Saturday were Ricky Saavedra with 13, Larrin Talas with 12, Johnathan Huff with 6, Andrew Araiza with 5, Jared Ruyle with 4 and DuVaughn Boone with 2.
Against Williams on Friday, high scorers were Saavedra with 17, Huff with 8, Ruyle with 6, Araiza and Talas with 5 each, Jeremy Benally and Boone with 4 each and Dustin Curley with 2.
The Lady Phantoms at both the JV and varsity level split their games, losing to Williams Friday and beating Beaver Dam on Saturday.
Against Beaver Dam, the varsity girls finished 48-20. High scorers were Tiffany Kerr with 10, Monique Streit with 9, Miriam Bankston with 8, Magen Timeche with 7, Madison Berry with 4, Kelsey Wren with 3 and Brandie Gomez with 2.
In the Williams game, they lost 42-25. Top scorers were Bankston with 13, Berry with 6, Chelsea Curtis with 3, Streit with 2 and Kerr with 1.
The JV girls downed Beaver Dam 34-14. Scorers were Marissa Timeche with 8, Gomez and Berry with 6 each, Josey Araiza with 5, Chrystal Vail with 4, Curtis with 3 and Wren with 2.
They lost narrowly to Williams, 23-19. High scorers were Gomez with 5, Vail with 3, and 2 apiece for Nicki Dailey, Curtis, Berry and Araiza.
The varsity boys dropped both of their games, 59-44 against Beaver Dam and 53-35 against Williams. Top scorers against Beaver Dam were Saavedra with 9, Dan Trenchard and Talas with 8 each, Dan Celis and Cruz Caballero with 7 each and Araiza with 4.
High scorers in the Williams game were Saavedra with 10, Talas with 8, Celis and Trenchard with 6 each and Caballero with 3.
Boys Head Coach Greg Walker said that the varsity team's big challenge is to meld a core of seniors - captains Trenchard, Caballero and Celis and Andres Velazquez - with a very young group.
"It's tough to blend them," he said. "We had a 5-point game at Beaver Dam and a 4-5 point game here in the third quarter. We'll just have a breakdown every now and then. That can snowball pretty quickly in basketball."
Of the up and coming players, Walker said that Saavedra has emerged as the surprise player of the year, earning enough varsity time to rank fifth in scoring among freshmen statewide.
"He's having a good freshman campaign," said Walker. "He really stepped up. You never know how much you can play a kid like that. You give him a taste here, an extra minute, an extra two minutes."
With a 2-6 season so far, Walker said wins are important. The aim, he said is consistency, particulary on defense.
Friday's game, he said, was "the tale of two halves - they played one of the worst halves of the year and one of the better halves but you've got to put the two together."
Against Beaver Dam on Saturday, Walker said it was a struggle to keep the ball, with the Phantoms allowing more than 20 turnovers. They were also outshot on free-throws 2-1.
Girls Head Coach Dan Lopez said that it was poor shooting - and Williams' 6-foot, 4-inch guard - that sank the ladies against top-ranked Williams.
"We made eight field goals out of 65 attempts, that's 12 percent. We're not going to beat anybody shooting like that," he said.
They did hold their own on turnovers, giving up 17 but retaliating with 16 steals.
"We held our own on the boards but we couldn't make any baskets," he said. "When we're taking good care of the ball, we're a good little team."
The win against Beaver Dam was important in keeping the Lady Phantoms in the running for one of four top spots in the six-team conference and a trip to regional competition.
The Beaver Dam game was a lot cleaner, with a tidy defense that only allowed the D-backs six points by the half.
Key players include sophomore Bankston, who averages about 10 points and 12 rebounds per game. Tiffany Kerr is the team's best 3-point shooter while Streit and Curtis also turn solid performances.
Between those who will return next year, and those, like Cori Yazzie, Katreena Haswood and Molly Struble who are working up through the middle school ranks, the future of the program is looking good.
"It's a good nucleus for next year," he said. "I'm really happy. Two years ago we were getting beat by 60 all the time."
The Phantoms play at home again on Fridy against Tri-City at 1 and 2:30 p.m. and Shonto Prep at 4 and 5:30 p.m. The middle school boys play at home on Saturday with games starting at 9 a.m.